Mark 2 - A New Template

The gospel of Mark is shorter than Matthew and Luke.
Because of this, I am now seeing, this shorter gospel makes some key aspects of Jesus more clear to me.

Jesus is in open conflict with the religious leaders of His day.
He sees the whole system as flawed and Jehovah has sent Him to right the ship.

Here we are in chapter two. My title for this message is "A New Template." This chapter contains four separate stories that seem to illustrate that with Jesus everything is changing.

Let's read one of them starting in v18:
18 Now one day John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, "How is it that John's disciples and the Pharisees are fasting, but your disciples are not fasting?"

19 Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the groom fast while he is with them? They cannot, as long as he is present. 20 But the time will come when the groom will be taken away, and on that day they will fast.


Now these next two verses, I believe, explain one of Mark's main points: 21 "No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and then both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins."

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PRAYER
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Again, Mark is letting us know the power struggle that is taking place.

The disciples of John the Baptist and the Pharisees are fasting - somebody is asking Jesus, "Hey, what's up with you and your 'disciples'? How come you guys don't fast?"

Jesus gives His answer: the groom wants to enjoy his time with his friends. There is certainly Jewish tradition going on that might help us understand better what Jesus means, but the literary context gives us the message.

A tiny history lesson:
We learn in the Didache, an first century Christian document that the Jews typically fasted on Mondays and Thursdays. Early Christians were taught NOT to fast on these days so they would not be confused as Jews. Early Christians were taught to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Some of your older folks like me will remember growing up in public school and having fish served every Friday??

This was a nod to the Catholic tradition of fasting from meat on Friday. Fasting did not mean eating nothing. You can "fast" from coffee, or meat, or sugar...

Jesus gives two examples:
You can't patch an old piece of clothing with a new piece of cloth - when the new cloth shrinks it will pull the hole in the old cloth apart even more.

You can't pour brand new wine into an old leather wineskin. As the grapejuice ferments and expands [because it produces alcohol and gas] the old wineskin is going to burst.

What Jesus is saying here is clear:
"Hey, there's a new sheriff in town. Things are going to change around here. I did not come to preserve the old ways. I came to disrupt the old ways and make everything new. Capeesh?"

All four stories in this chapter are meant to illustrate that Jesus was bringing a new order (a New Template):

He heals a man and forgives his sin.
The Pharisees are angry saying, "Only God can forgive sins."
And you remember, you have to visit the Temple with a sacrifice.

Next Jesus eats dinner with "tax collectors and sinners."
The Pharisees do not like this. Tax collectors are agents of Rome and "sinners" are unclean...they do not keep the Law, they do not wash their hands properly. They probably ate unclean food.
Jesus says, "I did not come for the righteous; I came for sinners."

Next they ask Jesus why He and His followers are not fasting.
He gives them the new wine in old wineskins statement.

Next in this chapter the Pharisees see Jesus and the disciples walking through a field picking the grain on the Sabbath.
They remind Jesus that this is not lawful.
Jesus tells them, "The Sabbath was made for man," we are not here to serve the Sabbath. Besides "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

Thus, the Sabbath is not to be seen as it always has been.
Things are changing.

Something stuck out to me when Jesus gives His message about patching clothing and wineskins. He uses "old" and "new" for both.
The "old" is passing away. Jesus is introducing a "new" template.

Now this is easy for us. We actually hold an "Old" Testament and a "New" Testament. We all fully grasp that the "old" is not what we follow.

But this was a new thing for earliest Christians...the Jewish ones. The Gentile Christians probably had an easier time with this concept.

HOW DOES THIS IMPACT US NOW? [10 min]

We all need to grow.
You cannot grow without change.
Change is usually not real easy.
I have around 8-10 minutes to speak to you about spiritual change in your life, are you ready?

- Love God with ALL of your Heart
If you are going to grow spiritually, your heart has to change. You have to let God bring change into what/how you "love."

Where do you spend your "free" time?
That will tell you what you love.
I am not dividing your world into secular/sacred, but I am saying that to "love God with ALL of your heart" is going to demand that you CHANGE where you spend your time.

- Love God with ALL of your Soul
As you change to accomodate your Heart, your Soul will change.

You have to feed your soul positive, uplifting food.
If you sit around watching depressing news or movies...
If you spend too much time on social media, or watching television, or playing video games - new studies show a direct correlation between time spent on digital devices and being depressed.

Your soul needs to be protected from the enemy of discontent.
The grass is always greener somewhere else.
This can lead to discouragement about your life.

Some of you might remember my encouragement last year in January:
- work on having a better diet
- find a regular sleep pattern
- get regular strenuous exercise
These three things will help your soul.

Have a regular time alone with God and the scriptures
This will feed your spiritual man.

Change is usually not easy...
But God will force change into your life to push you - He is trying to push you away from things that are not good for you and towards things that you need.

Oftentimes we want to rebuke circumstances we do not like or want when God is using them to MAKE US CHANGE.

ALL of this, of course, is determined by how serious you are to follow Christ...which demands growth...which means CHANGE.

Jesus came into the first century Jewish world as a disrupter.
He does the same thing in our lives...if we will allow Him.


We all need to grow.
You cannot grow without change.
Change is usually not easy.
Embrace the pain!

LET'S PRAY

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COMMENTS - QUESTIONS
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Troy Community Church
Christian Fellowship
1300 Henderson Highway
Troy, AL 36079